Review: SoundMAGIC E80 (Budget Audiophile IEM's)
Firstly I would like to thank SoundMAGIC for sending me this sample to review, they received over 50hrs of burn-in and not major differences were noted. I will try and write an honest review.
iPod Classic > E80 (S comply tips)
Dell XPS15 > Oppo HA-2 > E80 (S comply tips)
Driver: 10mm Dynamic
Frequency Response: 15Hz - 22kHz
Max Input Power: 20mW
Cable Length: 1.2m
MSRP: Around £70
Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:
The packaging is the same as the E50, very slim with a window on the back showing off the IEM's in their foam insert, specifications are listed on the side, information and accessory listing is on the back. On the front is a picture of the IEM's, I do like the simple packaging, it reduces size in shipping, and does a fine job of protecting the IEM's during transit. The IEM's are well protected in a foam insert, with the carry case (holding the accessories) is below.
Accessories are plenty, as is normal with SoundMAGIC. You get lots of tips, 2 different types of single flange tips (S, M and L) in both, a pair of bi flanges and also three pairs of Compy tips (S, M and L). Also included is a semi hard case and a cable clip. Plenty of accessories, and everyone will be able to get a comfortable fit with the included tips.
Build quality is what you expect, very good for the price. The cable is the same as the E10 and E50, a more plastic coating which I find to be stronger and less tangle prone. I do like the cable but it does retain a little memory. The strain relief is excellent on the housing, jack and y-split, and the housing is metal and very lightweight. I cannot see any part of these failing quickly.
Comfort, Isolation, Cable noise and Driver flex:
Well I nearly always use Comply tips now, and they provide the best seal for my tiny ears, but also excellent isolation. The housing on these is very smooth, and I find them to be comfortable for long periods of time. No problems in the comfort department, and great for commuting.
Isolation is good, the housing is vented but towards the inner ear and they don't leak sound out, and outside sound doesn't leak in much either. Perfect for all modes of public transport.
Cable noise is not a huge issue, it is present, but you can either use the chin slider to reduce slack, the cable clip or wear the cable behind the ear. With either one of these solutions, cable noise is greatly reduced and not a problem anymore. It definitely does not distract from the sound.
Driver flex is never present, for me at least.
Split in to the usual categories, with a conclusion at the end.
These are really quite different than the rest of the E line-up, they don't have the boosted and separate bass, these have softer more coherent lows. The lows blend better with the music and never sound boomy or bloated, they just give them the needed body and kick without excess. They extend nicely, and are well articulated. They are very well balanced with the rest of the sound and they don't bleed in to the mids. I do however find that kick drums lack a little body, but they do have good speed in terms of attack and recovery.
Well the mids are very good, they are on the smoother side but still retain good detail. Listening to acoustic guitars, they sound full with the right amount of body and reverberation. Vocals fair well, both male and female, male vocals don't suffer from added body which keeps them sounding clean and crisp. Rock music still has power, and yet jazz sounds wonderfully full bodied and subtle details can still be heard. The upper mids don't suffer from harshness or sibilance, again the mids are very smooth and relaxing to listen to, with no major dips or peaks.
The highs are well placed, they do sit a little further back in the mix as they should and have good detail and control. They never become strident or splashy, they just add a little sparkle to the sound. I do find they could use a tiny boost in terms of quantity, but for general usage these are great and produce a very easy to listen to, non fatiguing sound.
Soundstage is good, not great but sufficient. These have a more intimate sound, but everything is still well separated.
Instrument separation is good too, they don't have an airy sound so there is not a lot of air between everything, but everything does sound very coherent and natural.
Conclusion, well for a commuter they are great, in terms of vs the rest of the E series, well these have a very different sound. These have a more balanced and coherent sound, the E10 and E50 have more air and separation but do sometimes sound a little detached. These are in my opinion a good started Audiophile IEM, as they lean towards a more natural and balanced sound, rather than boosted bass and sparkly highs. These sound more together and complete, a very worthy IEM at this price point.
Sound Perfection Rating: 9.5/10 (Very worthy at their price point)